How Back to School is helping kids across the country

And where we go from here

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The Independent Online

The effect of Back to School Week, the campaign we ran with i last October, has been transformative.

When we first spoke to the i we had recruited around 50,000 alumni. Today we have over 60,000 alumni volunteers signed up to support their old school or college. Over 5,000 of them were signed up from through Back to School in the autumn and there’s been a steady flow ever since.

On average, we’re now running 16 events a week - which is three times the average number we were running before Back to School week. In total, we’ve delivered over 130 events in schools and colleges across the country since our events in October, and we’ll be delivering a further 100 over the next six weeks. That means that over 10,000 young people have already benefited from their alumni networks since Back to School week and another 8,000 will before the end of the school year.

We have taken over 300 alumni back into their old schools and colleges as career role models in workshops and assemblies in the last five months. There are also a large number of other volunteers that schools and colleges have reached out to and involved independently of our charity.

Over 100 more teachers have also registered their interest in Future First, with 32 already converted to paying members. And our tracking shows that media coverage has been our biggest source of referrals for new schools, so the i should take a huge amount of credit.

This autumn, we’ll be holding Back to School Week 2014. We want it to be the country’s biggest education volunteering campaign. We also want it to help us recruit another 100 schools and colleges to the Future First network, or to committing to running their own alumni communities.

Having piloted last year with the Future First team leading events, we hope exponential growth will come this year as schools are inspired, trained and equipped to run their own events – taking the programme viral in every corner of the country.

Jake Hayman is the founder of Future First